What does ‘organic’ mean?

'Organic' has come to mean products and produce grown in a sustainable, environmentally friendly way. How do you identify what's real and what's marketing hype on packaging?

If you see certification marks – Biogro, Agriquality or Demeter – you know that food has been independently audited and certified as organic.

All three systems have slightly different standards, but all emphasise environmentally sound production, and exclude the use of synthetic fertiliser, pesticide, growth regulators and livestock feed, and genetically modified organisms.

Be careful with imported products: other countries have different organic standards – you might be better off with a locally produced standard product than an imported 'organic' one.

First published: Aug 2007

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